Pak, “The Fungible” — The interactive BTC Whitepaper for NFT Digital Art, in a Digital Art Form.
Sotheby’s X Nifty Gateway’s collaboration drop auction went from 2021 April 12th to the 14th.
One-Liner: An interactive, playful way to participate in the auction process and a great way to be educated and enlightened on the NFT paradigm!
Pak is the Satoshi Nakamoto of the NFT Art World. We do not know who he is, but we simply don’t care. What he does is awesome, and that is all that matters. He pushes the boundaries of our understanding of NFTs and explores the function, values, and philosophy behind the NFT blockchain technology itself.
If Beeple was an artist like Michelangelo — who would focus on the narratives and portray the world view through “then-meme-ed” figures such as Venus and Zeus, Pak reminds me of Mondrian, an artist who made a mark in the Bauhaus movement which focused on the design not just as aesthetics component but indispensable with the function. Mondrian, through his art, imagined revolutionizing design and architecture, so that it would serve the public through mass production. Pak, through his art, is educating and inspiring the audience and collectors to imagine a revolutionized concept of “value” and how blockchain and NFTs would revolutionize the way we interact, behave and think.
All seven of the “The Fungible Collection” are seven different ways in which people can experience and experiment with the concept of NFT, Defi, and Blockchain.
The Fungible Collection was part of the Sotheby’s and Nifty Gateway’s collaboration auction which lasted for only three days. The sale came to a total of $16,825,99.
All original videos can be seen here
The Fungible Open Editions
In “The Fungible OE”, Pak makes a commentary on the concept of NFTs (Non-fungibles) and FT(Fungibles). Collectors are allowed to purchase as many fungible cubes as they wish — and the more FTs they collect, they receive slightly more NFT cubes. For example, when a collector purchases a single cube, they will receive a single NFT: “A Cube’’; collect 6 of them, it will come with 2 NFTs, “Five Cubes” and “A Cube”, summing up to 6 cubes in fungible value. Only by purchasing fungible ones, can you acquire NFTs.
For something to be truly unique, and non-fungible, it takes a lot of work — and I believe collecting these seemingly boring FTs is the proof of work and the effort that would bring collectors to the NFTs.
100 of those who collected the most of the cubes — or the Open Editions — by the end of the auction would be given one of each Complexity NFTs. Unlike the “Fungible Open Editions”, there are only a hundred “Complexity” NFTs. Notice how ‘The Fungible Open Editions’ and the ‘Complexity’ is a connected chain of collectors’ experience in the auction?
Only the ones who not only participated in the Open Edition collecting but also competed to collect more OE cubes were proven worthy of the “Complexity NFT”.
The artwork itself is said to show the relationship between the collector and the artist. The cubes go through the division process, but never fully disintegrate. A whole solid cube is divided into various blocks, and those blocks make Rubik’s cube-like movement, but not maintaining the perfect cube shape.
The original solid cube represents the artwork, and the division process is a metaphor in which various collectors claim ownership of a part of the cube. As the collectors interact with each other, the cube’s form changes and it makes rotations; it is almost like “the original piece” has lost its form, but because the separate pieces of blocks owned by the collectors never depart one another, audiences and the collectors still know the origin of the piece, and the original form is never truly lost.
“The Cube” (as opposed to A Cube)
“The Cube” is a one-of-a-kind NFT rewarded to the collector who purchased the most Open Edition cubes by the end of the auction.
The Cube is portrayed with thin white lines, making it seem like a transparent cube rotating as single-source light comes from the cube's left side.
Inside, there is a white object which transforms from a cube to a multidimensional shape. While the cube remains constant, the inner object is metamorphic, and at one point in the video, the white lines that make up the cube simply look like overlapping 2D squares.
Is “The Cube” really a cube when what is inside of the cube is an undefinable shaped object? Did the winner actually win “The Cube?”. Are NFTs actually Non-Fungible, if they were acquired through collecting more of FTs?
“The Cube” is asking the question of the meaning of non-fungibility itself.
“Equilibrium” artwork itself may just be a 3D rendering of a white sphere inside of a transparent cube. However, it is made to be an interactive art.
By participating in this “treasure hunt” process of earning NFTs, collectors will go through the experience or jobs that intermediaries such as art galleries that would market the art; art advisor evaluating works; various galleries buying and selling works of art in secondary markets.
With the rise of NFTs, some may say that there is no need for intermediaries such as galleries or agents who market the art and the art advisors and critics who evaluate art. Through “Equilibrium”, Pak is telling us that these functions have not gone away — these roles have been redistributed to the collector community.
“The equilibrium” cube has a white sphere in it. If the cube represents the artwork or the NFT, the sphere in it would be the community of collectors all around the globe.
Following is the process :
Equilibrium is a “four-of-four” where each edition will be sent to the winner of specific criteria:
The Cryptographer (#1 of 4): The person who solves the puzzle will be rewarded one of the four Equilibrium NFTs. See here for Pak’s puzzle.
The Hunter (#2 of 4): The collector who acquires any piece of art by Pak from its initial marketplace for the highest amount on the secondary market will receive one of the four Equilibrium NFTs.
The Influencer (#3 of 4): The individual that posts #PakWasHere to the biggest social media audience will receive one of the four Equilibrium NFTs.
The Oracle (#4 of 4): The person who most closely estimates the total sale of the entire collection before the auction beginning on April 12 will receive one of the four Equilibrium NFTs. (- Excerpt from the Sotheby’s website)
For blockchains or any services based on the technology to exist, there must be builders. They have already done more than proof-of-work, as they made any proof of work possible. The Builder is a collection of 30 NFTs dedicated and reserved for contributors such as artists, developers, and many others who had paved the way for NFT.
“The Builder” is an empty, transparent cube made with white lines. It is a perfect way to pay respect to the “builders of the NFT market”.
After all, any revolution, any change that we take for granted and freely were made possible by the ones who had poured their resources when nothing was guaranteed when nothing was solid when everything was just “upon the air” without any substance.
“The Switch” is a one-of-one NFT that can be re-made/transformed/developed by the owner through a public call. Once it is mutated, the change cannot be reversed.
This is also a metaphor for the evolution of digital art — the switch has turned on, and the evolution started. Even when the switch turns off, it will continue and cannot be halted.
“The Pixel” is basically a grey square in 2D. It represents a pixel.
Blockchains are made by blocks, and NFT arts are made by pixels.
A block needs to be validated to be added to the chain.
In “The Pixel”, the pixel statement is the most basic unit of a digital image that is to be on the traditional global auction house, and will make a mark to validate digital art the rightful place in the realm of “Real Art”.
While some may find all black-and-white renderings of relatively simple shapes rotating and transforming a little too plain and bland, the ways Pak represented the essence of NFTs were more than relevant.
Blocks, disintegration without separation, proof of work, and a chain reaction of the auction itself, an homage to the builders, and the final marking on the art history to validate this unwindable revolution provided viewers an exciting journey and served as an enlightenment tool.
Throughout the collection, the use of black and white reminded me of the computer language itself, which consisted of 0s and 1s — which represents the positive space (Existence) and negative space(Non-existence).
We do not know whether Pak is a group of artists or even devs.. or even a group of A.I.s. Whatever or whoever they are — Paks paintings deliver a clear message that NFTs and NFT digital art are here to stay and transform art, and the mind that consumes art.